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Friday, March 11, 2005 FULL SHOW | HEADLINES | PREVIOUS: Juan Cole and Osama Siblani on Middle East Politics,...
2005-03-11

Arab American Publisher Says Bush Told Him in May 2000 He Planned to "Take Out" Iraq

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Osama Siblani, publisher of "The Arab American" newspaper, says George W Bush told him in May 2000–before he was nominated as the Republican presidential candidate–that he is going to "take out" Iraq and Saddam Hussein.

Excerpt of rush transcript:

OSAMA SIBLANI: I met with the President, and he wanted to go to Iraq to search for weapons of mass destruction, and he considered the regime an imminent and gathering threat against the United States.

AMY GOODMAN: You met with the President of the United States?

OSAMA SIBLANI: Yes, when he was running for election in May of 2000 when he was a governor. He told me just straight to my face, among 12 or maybe 13 republicans at that time here in Michigan at the hotel. I think it was on May 17, 2000, even before he became the nominee for the Republicans. He told me that he was going to take him out, when we talked about Saddam Hussein in Iraq.

And I said, 'Well, you know, I totally disagree with you. You just can't go around taking leaders out of their countries, you know. Let the Iraqi people do it. They can’t do it on empty stomachs. Lift sanctions. Keep the pressure on Saddam Hussein, but lift the sanctions on the Iraqi people. People can’t make moves on an empty stomach. Once they start establishing, you know, a connection with the United States and helping democracy inside, they will overthrow him.’

And then he said, 'We have to talk about it later.' But at that time he was not privy to any intelligence, and the democrats had occupied the White House for the previous eight years. So, he was not privy to any intelligence whatsoever. He was not the official nominee of the Republican Party, so he didn’t know what kind of situation the weapons of mass destruction was at that time.

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